Publications


Analysing surveys of our Galaxy - II. Determining the potential

MONTHLY NOTICES OF THE ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY 433 (2013) 1411-1424

PJ McMillan, JJ Binney


Numerical modeling of the sensitivity of x-ray driven implosions to low-mode flux asymmetries

Physical Review Letters 110 (2013)

RHH Scott, PA Norreys, DS Clark, DK Bradley, DA Callahan, MJ Edwards, SW Haan, OS Jones, BK Spears, MM Marinak, RPJ Town, LJ Suter

The sensitivity of inertial confinement fusion implosions, of the type performed on the National Ignition Facility (NIF), to low-mode flux asymmetries is investigated numerically. It is shown that large-amplitude, low-order mode shapes (Legendre polynomial P), resulting from low-order flux asymmetries, cause spatial variations in capsule and fuel momentum that prevent the deuterium and tritium (DT) "ice" layer from being decelerated uniformly by the hot spot pressure. This reduces the transfer of implosion kinetic energy to internal energy of the central hot spot, thus reducing the neutron yield. Furthermore, synthetic gated x-ray images of the hot spot self-emission indicate that P shapes may be unquantifiable for DT layered capsules. Instead the positive P asymmetry "aliases" itself as an oblate P in the x-ray images. Correction of this apparent P distortion can further distort the implosion while creating a round x-ray image. Long wavelength asymmetries may be playing a significant role in the observed yield reduction of NIF DT implosions relative to detailed postshot two-dimensional simulations. © 2013 American Physical Society.


Modeling HEDLA magnetic field generation experiments on laser facilities

High Energy Density Physics 9 (2013) 172-177

M Fatenejad, N Flocke, D Lamb, D Lee, A Scopatz, P Tzeferacos, K Weide, AR Bell, G Gregori, J Meinecke, CD Murphy, A Ravasio, B Reville, M Koenig, JR Marques, A Pelka, R Yurchak, H-S Park, B Remington, A Benuzzi-Mounaix, F Miniati, RP Drake, C Krauland, R Young, R Crowston, N Woolsey

The Flash Center is engaged in a collaboration to simulate laser driven experiments aimed at understanding the generation and amplification of cosmological magnetic fields using the FLASH code. In these experiments a laser illuminates a solid plastic or graphite target launching an asymmetric blast wave into a chamber which contains either Helium or Argon at millibar pressures. Induction coils placed several centimeters away from the target detect large scale magnetic fields on the order of tens to hundreds of Gauss. The time dependence of the magnetic field is consistent with generation via the Biermann battery mechanism near the blast wave. Attempts to perform simulations of these experiments using the FLASH code have uncovered previously unreported numerical difficulties in modeling the Biermann battery mechanism near shock waves which can lead to the production of large non-physical magnetic fields. We report on these difficulties and offer a potential solution. © 2012 Elsevier B.V.


Linear structures in the core of the Coma cluster of galaxies

Science 341 (2013) 1365-1368

JS Sanders, AC Fabian, SA Walker, E Churazov, AA Schekochihin, A Simionescu, N Werner

The hot x-ray-emitting plasma in galaxy clusters is predicted to have turbulent motion, which can contribute around 10% of the cluster's central energy density. We report deep Chandra X-ray Observatory observations of the Coma cluster core, showing the presence of quasi-linear high-density arms spanning 150 kiloparsecs, consisting of low-entropy material that was probably stripped from merging subclusters. Two appear to be connected with a subgroup of galaxies at a 650-kiloparsec radius that is merging into the cluster, implying coherence over several hundred million years. Such a long lifetime implies that strong isotropic turbulence and conduction are suppressed in the core, despite the unrelaxed state of the cluster. Magnetic fields are presumably responsible. The structures seen in Coma present insight into the past billion years of subcluster merger activity.


Universal behaviour of shock precursors in the presence of efficient cosmic ray acceleration

Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 430 (2013) 2873-

B Reville, AR Bell


Satellite Survival in Highly Resolved Milky Way Class Halos

ArXiv (2012)

S Geen, A Slyz, J Devriendt

Surprisingly little is known about the origin and evolution of the Milky Way's satellite galaxy companions. UV photoionisation, supernova feedback and interactions with the larger host halo are all thought to play a role in shaping the population of satellites that we observe today, but there is still no consensus as to which of these effects, if any, dominates. In this paper, we revisit the issue by re-simulating a Milky Way class dark matter (DM) halo with unprecedented resolution. Our set of cosmological hydrodynamic Adaptive Mesh Refinement (AMR) simulations, called the Nut suite, allows us to investigate the effect of supernova feedback and UV photoionisation at high redshift with sub-parsec resolution. We subsequently follow the effect of interactions with the Milky Way-like halo using a lower spatial resolution (50pc) version of the simulation down to z=0. This latter produces a population of simulated satellites that we compare to the observed satellites of the Milky Way and M31. We find that supernova feedback reduces star formation in the least massive satellites but enhances it in the more massive ones. Photoionisation appears to play a very minor role in suppressing star and galaxy formation in all progenitors of satellite halos. By far the largest effect on the satellite population is found to be the mass of the host and whether gas cooling is included in the simulation or not. Indeed, inclusion of gas cooling dramatically reduces the number of satellites captured at high redshift which survive down to z=0.


Stream-orbit misalignment I: The dangers of orbit-fitting

ArXiv (2013)

JL Sanders, J Binney

Tidal streams don't, in general, delineate orbits. A stream-orbit misalignment is expected to lead to biases when using orbit-fitting to constrain models for the Galactic potential. In this first of two papers we discuss the expected magnitude of the misalignment and the resulting dangers of using orbit-fitting algorithms to constrain the potential. We summarize data for known streams which should prove useful for constraining the Galactic potential, and compute their actions in a realistic Galactic potential. We go on to discuss the formation of tidal streams in angle-action space, and explain why, in general, streams do not delineate orbits. The magnitude of the stream-orbit misalignment is quantified for a logarithmic potential and a multi-component Galactic potential. Specifically, we focus on the expected misalignment for the known streams. By introducing a two-parameter family of realistic Galactic potentials we demonstrate that assuming these streams delineate orbits can lead to order one errors in the halo flattening and halo-to-disc force ratio at the Sun. We present a discussion of the dependence of these results on the progenitor mass, and demonstrate that the misalignment is mass-independent for the range of masses of observed streams. Hence, orbit-fitting does not yield better constraints on the potential if one uses narrower, lower-mass streams.


Comparison between x-ray scattering and velocity-interferometry measurements from shocked liquid deuterium

Physical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics 87 (2013)

K Falk, BJB Crowley, CD Murphy, JS Wark, G Gregori, SP Regan, SX Hu, PB Radha, J Vorberger, DO Gericke, SH Glenzer, AP Jephcoat

The equation of state of light elements is essential to understand the structure of Jovian planets and inertial confinement fusion research. The Omega laser was used to drive a planar shock wave in the cryogenically cooled deuterium, creating warm dense matter conditions. X-ray scattering was used to determine the spectrum near the boundary of the collective and noncollective scattering regimes using a narrow band x-ray source in backscattering geometry. Our scattering spectra are thus sensitive to the individual electron motion as well as the collective plasma behavior and provide a measurement of the electron density, temperature, and ionization state. Our data are consistent with velocity-interferometry measurements previously taken on the same shocked deuterium conditions and presented by K. Falk. This work presents a comparison of the two diagnostic systems and offers a detailed discussion of challenges encountered. ©2013 American Physical Society.


Experimental Signatures of Critically Balanced Turbulence in MAST

ArXiv (2012)

YC Ghim, AA Schekochihin, AR Field, IG Abel, M Barnes, G Colyer, SC Cowley, FI Parra, D Dunai, S Zoletnik, TMAST Team

Beam Emission Spectroscopy (BES) measurements of ion-scale density fluctuations in the MAST tokamak are used to show that the turbulence correlation time, the drift time associated with ion temperature or density gradients, the particle (ion) streaming time along the magnetic field and the magnetic drift time are consistently comparable, suggesting a "critically balanced" turbulence determined by the local equilibrium. The resulting scalings of the poloidal and radial correlation lengths are derived and tested. The nonlinear time inferred from the density fluctuations is longer than the other times; its ratio to the correlation time scales as $\nu_{*i}^{-0.8\pm0.1}$, where $\nu_{*i}=$ ion collision rate/streaming rate. This is consistent with turbulent decorrelation being controlled by a zonal component, invisible to the BES, with an amplitude exceeding the drift waves' by $\sim \nu_{*i}^{-0.8}$.


Diffusive shock acceleration at laser-driven shocks: Studying cosmic-ray accelerators in the laboratory

New Journal of Physics 15 (2013)

B Reville, AR Bell, G Gregori

The non-thermal particle spectra responsible for the emission from many astrophysical systems are thought to originate from shocks via a first order Fermi process otherwise known as diffusive shock acceleration. The same mechanism is also widely believed to be responsible for the production of high energy cosmic rays. With the growing interest in collisionless shock physics in laser produced plasmas, the possibility of reproducing and detecting shock acceleration in controlled laboratory experiments should be considered. The various experimental constraints that must be satisfied are reviewed. It is demonstrated that several currently operating laser facilities may fulfil the necessary criteria to confirm the occurrence of diffusive shock acceleration of electrons at laser produced shocks. Successful reproduction of Fermi acceleration in the laboratory could open a range of possibilities, providing insight into the complex plasma processes that occur near astrophysical sources of cosmic rays. © IOP Publishing and Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft.


Stream-orbit misalignment II: A new algorithm to constrain the Galactic potential

ArXiv (2013)

JL Sanders, J Binney

In the first of these two papers we demonstrated that assuming streams delineate orbits can lead to order one errors in potential parameters for realistic Galactic potentials. Motivated by the need for an improvement on orbit-fitting, we now present an algorithm for constraining the Galactic potential using tidal streams without assuming that streams delineate orbits. This approach is independent of the progenitor mass so is valid for all observed tidal streams. The method makes heavy use of angle-action variables and seeks the potential which recovers the expected correlations in angle space. We demonstrate that the method can correctly recover the parameters of a simple two-parameter logarithmic potential by analysing an N-body simulation of a stream. We investigate the magnitude of the errors in observational data for which the method can still recover the correct potential and compare this to current and future errors in data. The errors in the observables of individual stars for current and near future data are shown to be too large for the direct use of this method, but when the data are averaged in bins on the sky, the resulting averaged data are accurate enough to constrain correctly the potential parameters for achievable observational errors. From pseudo-data with errors comparable to those that will be furnished in the era of Gaia (20 per cent distance errors, 1.2 mas/yr proper motion errors, and 10 km/s line-of-sight velocity errors) we recover the circular velocity, V_c=220 km/s, and the flattening of the potential, q=0.9, to be V_c=223+/-10km/s and q=0.91+/-0.09.


The wobbly Galaxy: Kinematics north and south with RAVE red-clump giants

Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 436 (2013) 101-121

MEK Williams, M Steinmetz, H Enke, I Minchev, RS de Jong, A Siviero, J Binney, A Siebert, B Famaey, O Bienaymé, C Boeche, EK Grebel, KC Freeman, J Bland-Hawthorn, S Sharma, BK Gibson, GF Gilmore, G Kordopatis, A Helmi, U Munari, JF Navarro, QA Parker, W Reid, GM Seabroke, FG Watson, RFG Wyse, T Zwitter

TheRAdialVelocity Experiment survey, combined with proper motions and distance estimates, can be used to study in detail stellar kinematics in the extended solar neighbourhood (solar suburb). Using 72 365 red-clump stars, we examine the mean velocity components in 3D between 6 < R < 10 kpc and -2 < Z < 2 kpc, concentrating on north-south differences. Simple parametric fits to the (R, Z) trends for V and the velocity dispersions are presented. We confirm the recently discovered gradient in mean Galactocentric radial velocity, V, finding that the gradient is marked below the plane (δ(V)/δR=-8 kms kpc for Z<0, vanishing to zero above the plane), with a Z gradient thus also present. The vertical velocity, V, also shows clear, large-amplitude (|V| = 17 km s) structure, with indications of a rarefaction- compression pattern, suggestive of wave-like behaviour. We perform a rigorous error analysis, tracing sources of both systematic and random errors. We confirm the north-south differences in V and V along the line of sight, with the V estimated independent of the proper motions. The complex three-dimensional structure of velocity space presents challenges for future modelling of the Galactic disc, with the Galactic bar, spiral arms and excitation of wave-like structures all probably playing a role. © 2013 The Authors Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society.


Fast collisionless reconnection and electron heating in strongly magnetized plasmas

Physical Review Letters 111 (2013)

NF Loureiro, AA Schekochihin, A Zocco

Magnetic reconnection in strongly magnetized (low-beta), weakly collisional plasmas is investigated by using a novel fluid-kinetic model [Zocco and Schekochihin, Phys. Plasmas 18, 102309 (2011)] which retains nonisothermal electron kinetics. It is shown that electron heating via Landau damping (linear phase mixing) is the dominant dissipation mechanism. In time, electron heating occurs after the peak of the reconnection rate; in space, it is concentrated along the separatrices of the magnetic island. For sufficiently large systems, the peak reconnection rate is ≈0.2vB, where v is the Alfvén speed based on the reconnecting field B . The island saturation width is the same as in magnetohydrodynamics models except for small systems, when it becomes comparable to the kinetic scales. © 2013 American Physical Society.


DIFFUSE INTERSTELLAR BAND AT 8620 angstrom IN RAVE: A NEW METHOD FOR DETECTING THE DIFFUSE INTERSTELLAR BAND IN SPECTRA OF COOL STAR

ASTROPHYSICAL JOURNAL 778 (2013) ARTN 86

J Kos, T Zwitter, EK Grebel, O Bienayme, J Binney, J Bland-Hawthorn, KC Freeman, BK Gibson, G Gilmore, G Kordopatis, JF Navarro, Q Parker, WA Reid, G Seabroke, A Siebert, A Siviero, M Steinmetz, F Watson, RFG Wyse


X-ray scattering by many-particle systems

New Journal of Physics 15 (2013)

BJB Crowley, G Gregori

This paper reviews the treatment of high-frequency Thomson scattering in the non-relativistic and near-relativistic regimes with the primary purpose of understanding the nature of the frequency redistribution correction to the differential cross-section. This correction is generally represented by a factor involving the ratio ω α /ω β of the scattered (α) to primary (β) frequencies of the radiation. In some formulae given in the literature, the ratio appears squared, in others it does not. In Compton scattering, the frequency change is generally understood to be due to the recoil of the particle as a result of energy and momentum conservation in the photon-electron system. In this case, the Klein-Nishina formula gives the redistribution factor as . In the case of scattering by a many-particle system, however, the frequency and momentum changes are no longer directly interdependent but depend also upon the properties of the medium, which are encoded in the dynamic structure factor. We show that the redistribution factor explicit in the quantum cross-section (that seen by a photon) is ω α /ω β, which is not squared. Formulae for the many-body cross-section given in the literature, in which the factor is squared, can often be attributed to a different (classical) definition of the cross-section, though not all authors are explicit about which definition they are using. What is shown not to be true is that the structure factor simply gives the ratio of the many-electron to one-electron differential cross-sections, as is sometimes supposed. Mixing up the cross-section definitions can lead to errors when describing x-ray scattering. We illustrate the nature of the discrepancy by deriving the energy-integrated angular distributions, with first-order relativistic corrections, for classical and quantum scattering measurements, as well as the radiative opacity for photon diffusion in a Thomson-scattering medium, which is generally considered to be governed by quantum processes. © IOP Publishing and Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft.


Fast electron beam measurements from relativistically intense, frequency-doubled laser-solid interactions

New Journal of Physics 15 (2013)

RHH Scott, KL Lancaster, PA Norreys, MJV Streeter, SJ Rose, F Pérez, H-P Schlenvoigt, SD Baton, EL Clark, JR Davies, JJ Santos, S Hulin, F Dorchies, C Fourment, B Vauzour, AA Soloviev

Experimental measurements of the fast electron beam created by the interaction of relativistically intense, frequency-doubled laser light with planar solid targets and its subsequent transport within the target are presented and compared with those of a similar experiment using the laser fundamental frequency. Using frequency-doubled laser light, the fast electron source size is significantly reduced, while evidence suggests the divergence angle may be reduced. Pyrometric measurements of the target rear surface temperature and the Cu K imager data indicate the laser to fast electron absorption fraction is reduced using frequency doubled laser light. Bremsstrahlung measurements indicate the fast electron temperature is 125 keV, while the laser energy absorbed into forward-going fast electrons was found to be 16 ± 4% for frequency doubled light at a mean laser intensity of 5 ± 3 × 10 W cm. © IOP Publishing and Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft.


FLASH hydrodynamic simulations of experiments to explore the generation of cosmological magnetic fields

High Energy Density Physics 9 (2013) 75-81

A Scopatz, M Fatenejad, N Flocke, DQ Lamb, D Lee, P Tzeferacos, K Weide, G Gregori, J Meinecke, M Koenig, A Ravasio, R Yurchak

We report the results of FLASH hydrodynamic simulations of the experiments conducted by the University of Oxford High Energy Density Laboratory Astrophysics group and its collaborators at the Laboratoire pour l'Utilisation de Lasers Intenses (LULI). In these experiments, a long-pulse laser illuminates a target in a chamber filled with Argon gas, producing shock waves that generate magnetic fields via the Biermann battery mechanism. The simulations show that the result of the laser illuminating the target is a series of complex hydrodynamic phenomena. © 2012 Elsevier B.V.


Orbital-free density-functional theory simulations of the dynamic structure factor of warm dense aluminum

Physical Review Letters 111 (2013)

TG White, S Richardson, BJB Crowley, LK Pattison, JWO Harris, G Gregori

Here, we report orbital-free density-functional theory (OF DFT) molecular dynamics simulations of the dynamic ion structure factor of warm solid density aluminum at T=0.5 eV and T=5 eV. We validate the OF DFT method in the warm dense matter regime through comparison of the static and thermodynamic properties with the more complete Kohn-Sham DFT. This extension of OF DFT to dynamic properties indicates that previously used models based on classical molecular dynamics may be inadequate to capture fully the low frequency dynamics of the response function. © 2013 American Physical Society.


The role of collisions on mode competition between the two-stream and Weibel instabilities

Journal of Plasma Physics 79 (2013) 987-989

KA Humphrey, DC Speirs, R Bingham, RMGM Trines, P Norreys

We present results from numerical simulations conducted to investigate a potential method for realizing the required fusion fuel heating in the fast ignition scheme to achieving inertial confinement fusion. A comparison will be made between collisionless and collisional particle-in-cell simulations of the relaxation of a non-thermal electron beam through the two-stream instability. The results presented demonstrate energy transfer to the plasma ion population from the laser-driven electron beam via the nonlinear wave-wave interaction associated with the two-stream instability. Evidence will also be provided for the effects of preferential damping of competing instabilities such as the Weibel mode found to be detrimental to the ion heating process. © Cambridge University Press 2013.


Probing the complex ion structure in liquid carbon at 100 GPa

Physical Review Letters 111 (2013)

D Kraus, W Cayzac, A Ortner, A Otten, F Roth, G Schaumann, D Schumacher, K Siegenthaler, F Wagner, M Roth, J Vorberger, DO Gericke, K Wünsch, V Bagnoud, A Blažević, A Frank, G Gregori

We present the first direct experimental test of the complex ion structure in liquid carbon at pressures around 100 GPa, using spectrally resolved x-ray scattering from shock-compressed graphite samples. Our results confirm the structure predicted by ab initio quantum simulations and demonstrate the importance of chemical bonds at extreme conditions similar to those found in the interiors of giant planets. The evidence presented here thus provides a firmer ground for modeling the evolution and current structure of carbon-bearing icy giants like Neptune, Uranus, and a number of extrasolar planets. © 2013 American Physical Society.